noted in passing

Hardware hacking: Time Capsule PSU failure.

My 1st generation Apple Time Capsule failed last night, specifically the power supply unit overheated for the final time. Frustrating, as the device does a lot of work, between handling the dsl connection, routing wired and wireless traffic, and backups. After reading over my options here, here, and here, I ended up hacking in an external power supply after finding a nice dual voltage unit at Goodwill, of all places.

Not the prettiest work but work it does…



The joints were trimmed and taped before trying to seal the case, which proved to be a challenge. The SATA connector collides with the power connection to the board, so it’s a tight fit. So tight, it just shut down. Perhaps I’ll run it without the cover for now…

I have found a spare unit, without a drive, that I will swap in for this one after I replace the PSU with a future-proofed one from Chris Fackrell.

Looks like this one lasted two years longer than it should have/was expected to. I attribute that to a drive swap I did years ago, replacing the “server quality” 500 gb drive with a Green drive — slower and quieter — double the size. The stock drive was noisy and ran too hot, shutting the unit down more than once. Swapping the drive was a big win. I just wish I had realized how ineffective the fan was, based on the design.

noted in passing

Where Kirby Ferguson gets it wrong

I had hoped this would be more about remix culture but it turned out to be one more “Apple is doing it wrong” screed. The difference as I see it is that in the folk song examples, he clearly shows the before and after, where Dylan took his idea from and what he did with it. He doesn’t show any provenance for the iOS Slide to Unlock gesture, while ridiculing the patent, nor does he mention the obvious – that no alternative has yet emerged. Here are some ideas:
One could

  • press and hold a specific section of the screen for a few seconds or
  • press/tap in a user-defined pattern or
  • use key press combinations with the volume or part switch.

Those may not be any good but I’m not a trained industrial designer nor did I spend a lot of time on them. But instead we fixate on Slide to Unlock. There is no one right answer.

The Picasso quote about artists stealing is misused here: by stealing, he means to make it your own, to transform it into something that looks like you did it yourself.

You steal the idea of a self-propelled wagon – an automobile – but not the implementation. Henry Ford didn’t make the first car, after all, but who remembers who did?

You steal the idea of a windows/icons/mouse pointer interface but you make it look original. No one would confuse the Xerox Star with a Macintosh though they would see obvious similarities. A Model T and whatever Ford makes now have similarities but would a buyer confuse them?

That’s what’s missing in the Android vs iOS distraction. Steve Jobs wasn’t angry at Android as a smartphone that offered the same basic functionality: it was the similarity in the implementation that he resented. I don’t think anyone cared when the first Android phones looked like Blackberries.

Think about it: the Samsung products look a lot like the iOS products – Google warned Samsung about that – but that’s secondary. What should be worrisome is how that suggests there are no alternative ideas, that the shiny glass slab is the Platonic deal. Does Android really want to concede that?

noted in passing

Yet another tedious iOS vs Android pissing contest

Google+ would be less tedious if the Android fanboyism wasn’t so prevalent. Imagine if Apple built a social media site to promote its brands. Oh, wait, it has the whole world…because it understands branding.

Repurposed from a comment there:

The iPhone is a brand, where Android is…not. The handsets say Samsung or whatever on them. “Companies that are serious about software should make their own hardware,” as someone much smarter than me said. What is Motorola doing if Samsung and ASUS are making the Nexus products?

Ask an Android user what kind of phone they have and I suspect they’ll name the maker or the carrier before they say Android. And you know what? That’s how it works. Do people say they drive a V8 when they drive a Ford or GM car? Do Subaru owners dig the flat four design of their car’s powerplant? I bet a lot of people wouldn’t know if their car is air-cooled or water-cooled.

Dunno why it took so long to think of this.